No borders to equality

Interview with Paola Cyment about global mapping on organizations working on gender and migration.

The mapping project "No borders to equality" aims to identify and learn from the work of organizations addressing the intersection of gender and migration. We talked to Paola Cyment, who coordinated the joint initiative by Women in Migration Network and Friedrich-Eber-Stiftung. Paola Cyment is an independent consultant with expertise in migration, gender, human rights and development. 

FES:You conducted a global mapping survey of more than three hundred organizations and networks and interviewed nineteen key movement leaders and organizations addressing the rights of women in migration. Who is the term "Women in Migration" referring to? 

Paola Cyment: Women in migration are not only those who are on the move, but all women who are affected by migration, including those who have been deported or have returned to their countries of origin, and those who have not migrated, even if someone in their family has. Women in migrations are key agents of change, who mobilize to defend their own rights, fight for the safety and economic security of themselves and their families, and actively participate in civil society.  

What are the realities of life for women in migration? Do women face common problems around the world?  

Although the reality of each woman in migration is particular and context related, several of the problems faced are shared globally. For example, more than 60 per cent of organizations surveyed expressed they work with women in migration who are survivors of violence. Gender based-violence, multiple forms of discrimination, labor exploitation and obstacles in the access to social rights (education, health –including sexual and reproductive health-, housing, etc.) are common problems that women in migration face across the world.   

Are there any regional specifics, for example for Europe? 

Yes, there are specifics in every region. For example, in Europe the situation of undocumented migrant women is a major concern as well as the limited access to regular pathways. This situation has a profound impact on their lives. Undocumented women experience isolation, social exclusion, and risk of exploitation, and the criminalization of irregular migration has increased discrimination and gender-based violence. Fearing detention and deportation, migrant women often desperately accept any labor conditions, leading to widespread exploitation.

How do civil society organizations address these challenges? What are their primary areas of focus [in Europe]?  

Europe is the only region of those surveyed where the majority of organizations are frontline service providers in comparison to other regions of the world where national advocacy and training prevailed. European organizations mostly help migrant women navigate access to public services, provide pro bono legal aid, and assist domestic violence survivors. Meanwhile, Networks such as the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) advocate for “firewalls” between service delivery including health and education, and migration enforcement, to ensure that service providers will not disclose information to migration officials. Such firewalls enable undocumented migrants to access needed services and claim their social and economic rights without fear of detention or deportation.

You are currently developing an interactive online map, which locates organizations working around the globe addressing the intersection of gender and migration. What is the instrument to be used for?  

The instrument is an interactive map, where users can locate which are the organizations in their region working on gender and migration. When they click on an organization, they get a brief description, their webpage and contact email address. This map can be accessed at http://womenmigrationmap.org/

And how can organizations be listed in it? 

Organizations that consider they are working on the intersection of gender and migration should contact me pcyment(at)womeninmigration.org or our general mail info(at)womeninmigration.org. We will ask them to complete a form and evaluate their experience in order to be part of the map.   


About the Project  

The mapping project "No borders to equality" aims to identify and learn from the work of organizations addressing the intersection of gender and migration. To achieve this, the project focuses on a mapping survey of more than 300 organizations and networks around the globe. They completed an online survey to provide a profile of the organizations, the characteristics and priorities of the women and girls they work within the context of migration, and their most urgent needs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. The project also provides important foundations for strengthening connections among organizations working for migrant rights with a gender perspective and bringing a migrant rights perspective to those groups working in other sectors, including women’s rights, labor rights, climate justice, development, and democratization. 

As a result, WIMN and FES have released three instruments, available at http://womenmigrationmap.org/  

  • Report “No Borders to Equality: Global Mapping of Organizations Working on Gender and Migration”: This study provides in-depth analysis of the reality of women in migration around the globe and of the organizations working with them, including regional highlights on Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas. More than 300 organizations worldwide were surveyed as a basis for this study. 

  • Interactive data visualization: Interactive graphics offer information by region and subregion on the profile of organizations working on gender and migration, the women in migration with whom they work, their priorities and how COVID 19 has affected them. 

  • Interactive map of organizations: this map allows locating organizations working around the globe to address the intersection of gender and migration through frontline response, research, advocacy, and mobilization.  

Events, projects, analyzes and background information:

  • Displacement: Worldwide, more people are leaving their countries of origin than ever before.
  • Migration: Migration is to be expected in an interconnected and globalized world.
  • Integration: How do we want to live together in a diverse society with peace, safety and equal participation for all?

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